Today no one would argue that a good command of a foreign language is a skill that is essential to almost everyone. Language learning has evolved from the activity that was regarded mostly as a hobby, in urgent need. If before most people had a career in the same country and did it quite successfully, in our time the situation has changed dramatically. More and more companies from different countries form partnerships, more and more large firms are deploying their business on the international level. Therefore, the study of foreign languages – primarily English as an international language is becoming one of the key factors for success.
In our country there are a huge number of training centers where anyone can start to learn foreign languages. There are more and more private teachers, open language schools. However, successful language learning involves fluency in spoken communication situations – and here the regular language courses is often insufficient. In order to be fluent in English, required practice. Moreover it is necessary of what is now often referred to as «language environment» or «immersion in the language.» For this reason, language programs study English abroad are becoming more popular among language learners.
It is understood that in order to successfully study English abroad, you need to take into account all the peculiarities of this type of training. First is that already mentioned – maximum immersion. Speech perception on reading comprehension in English, oral communication – all this is now not limited to outside audiences and classes. The English language now surrounds us everywhere in everyday life – in hotels and shops, cafes and restaurants, hospitals, railway stations, etc. Due to this important factor, removed the fear of a foreign language, you get used to use English in everyday situations.
Another important feature of learning English abroad is learning from native speakers. In foreign language schools, classes are taught by people who are not just professional teachers, but also thoroughly familiar with all stylistic and other peculiarities of the English language.
Modern foreign programs for learning English is a tremendous diversity. The course can be as short as one to two weeks, so long – up to a whole academic year or more. In order to understand what duration is to choose a language program, it is necessary to start from several aspects. First and foremost is, of course, financial viability, and the degree of necessity of obtaining the maximum result for a minimal amount of time.
Usually foreign language centres offer a choice of programs of learning English, which are distinguished by the intensity. Intensity is the number of English lessons a week. The base load is 15-25 hours per week. With this schedule you can not only learn language, but also to relax, see the country, local attractions, etc. in addition, there are intensive courses that provide a load of up to 40 hours per week or more, but you can get the result much faster than in courses with a standard intensity.
To make a choice is quite simple: if you have sufficient funds, but you have limited time, choose a short intensive course. You will have to work closely, but the result will be noticeable within a few days of intensive training. Most often, this option is preferred by business people who do not have the opportunity to permanently break away from work. Spending just 2-3 weeks of learning the language, you will return home trained with conversational speech and in this case it will be able to claim the increase in the ranks.
If you have got a couple of months, you can safely choose a standard, but quite long rate – usually this option is relatively cheaper than their intensive counterparts, while you have still enough free time to practice English in an informal setting outside the classroom walls, as well as the opportunity to experience the culture and lifestyle of the inhabitants of the country of the target language. The cost of these programs varies usually depending on the duration and intensity of training, and topics of the course (we’ll say more below).
The next issue is to decide – where to go? Much of English language schools located, of course, in the UK and the USA. There are many such schools in other countries where English is the official language in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malta, Cyprus as well as in many European countries. Prices usually between countries do not vary greatly, however, when choosing the place of study abroad should pay attention to such moments as the rate of flights from your city etc. Language schools where you can study English, there are also other countries where English is not the first language for locals. However, it is better to choose the country where you will be able to immerse themselves in English, and, in addition, in these countries is much higher the skill level of teachers and therefore the quality of language teaching.
Before you decide to choose a language program, it is worth noting that there are English courses abroad in various directions. For example, you can choose a special intensive course, which aims to improve the colloquial skills. In such courses most of the time is given to practice live communication in English. There are also programmes in business English, which, in turn, have their own, more narrow areas: English for managers, English for businessmen, English for employees in the technical, scientific, sphere, etc. You need to clearly decide for what purpose you are going to improve your level of English, and then choosing the right language program will not be easy.
Many foreign courses in English designed to prepare for international language exams – IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, FCE, etc. to give preference to such courses worth it if you plan to study abroad to get a job in an international company or travel abroad with the purpose of employment in another country – many firms require their employees command of the English language, accept the above international certificates. To choose the exam that might be useful in the future, it is more advisable to see the contents of the most common exams, as well as information about where you are taking these or other certificates. For example, to work in an American firm or admission in an American University, you will probably need the TOEFL, but if you plan to get a job in the UK or to go to University, you will need the certificate of one of the Cambridge exams – CAE, CPE, etc. Preparing for such exams in «combat» conditions will be a great alternative to the usual English language courses.
In recent years an increasing number of language schools for children, many of which operate on the principle of summer camp – round the clock children are in school, live there and are under the supervision of teachers, and most of the time is devoted to learning English. Many classes are held in the form of a game that makes the child easy and quick mastery of the English language. There is also a large number of holiday language programmes for teenagers and young adults. Such camps are usually located in the best resort places in Malta, in Cyprus, on the southern coast of Europe – and are the perfect opportunity to combine «business with pleasure» — leisure and learning English.
There is also another area which, unfortunately, is not particularly popular, but it can be even much more effective than learning in a language school. It’s a learn English homestay teacher. At the moment a huge number of teachers and native English speakers ready to receive students regularly engage with them and communicate only in English. In the process of everyday communication with the teacher, the student not only virtually around the clock to hear the correct English language, but also learns to apply language to everyday situations, memorize basic phrases and expressions easily and learns to perceive foreign speech at the hearing.
Summing up, mention should be made of the same peculiarities of studying English abroad, which can be a disadvantage for people just beginning to learn the language. Beginners without reliance on the native language will be difficult to integrate into the classroom, but even more difficult may be basic survival in a new country, where they speak exclusively English. Therefore, to go abroad to study English is only in the case if you have a certain base language – knowledge of basic vocabulary, grammar, etc., so that, God forbid, not be in a desperate situation.
However, studying English abroad, you very quickly get used to its sound and will not notice how to get rid of the language barrier. Despite the fact that the cost of studying English abroad can be much higher than the cost of education in Russian language schools (and that’s without taking into account the cost of flights and accommodation), the effect of such training fully covers all the flaws.
Summing up, we can safely say that learning English abroad is probably the most effective way of learning. Thanks to the immersion of the English language ceases to be objective and becomes a simple and convenient tool for solving life’s issues. But this is the most natural way of language learning, given us by nature!